As part of our week on Britain's fastest growing subculture, Tories, I've spent a week undercover to try and unpick their mysteries. By experiencing their behaviour firsthand I hope to understand them better so that we may one day live amongst them.
What do Tory MPs do on a Friday, when everybody's either gone home or to the pub, and they're not invited? Kicking off their Grensons, patting their diabetic Labrador on the head and breathing a hot sigh of relief over another week spent keeping the povvos down, they sit at their writing desk and – in fairness, like all politicians – start claiming some expenses.
So let's get started:
Day one: Right. Return train ticket to Barnes, £5. Latte at Caffé Nero, £2.40. Pint at the posh pub on the high street, £4.50. That's about it, really.
Day two: Cricket. Train to Tunbridge Wells, £15. Can probably only charge for one or two of the pints, so £10. Bought a hat, but again, bit much to claim for that. All good there.
Day three: Canvassing. Zone 1-5 pass, £9 or something, probably? A can of diet coke, 80p.
Right, that comes to £46.70 – not bad, but not great. Not £2,115 for "clearing a moat", or £646.25 for "general repairs". Better go through this thing again.
Thinking about it, I do remember doing a lot of writing with my pen.
The only ink my pen takes is rare. I have to buy it from a guy. He sells ink in ounces. I'd say it's got to be about £15 an ounce. Three makes £45. That's reasonable.
Then – what am I like! – I went and spilled some of that ink on my shirt! The dry cleaner stitched me up for £53, too, the cheeky bugger! But these things cost money.
My cricket whites, as you can see, need replacing. How am I supposed to get that pearly white Andrew WK look the next time I head to Tunbridge Wells? I'll get them cheap from TK Maxx. £85? Oh, and I bought the hat – couldn't do my job without it! Sun stroke is a real danger, after all. So that's another £12.
Furthermore, while I didn't technically pay for it, T-shirts don't grow on trees, you know? What's a Tory campaign shirt worth? Tenner? Fiver?
£246.70. Not bad, not bad. Looking rosier now… But… Maybe there's something… Something more.
I mean, writing the articles required really, really intense light to see the keys. My light bulbs are at least 13 percent dimmer since I started. I could probably do with those being replaced. I should phone a guy.
Alright, so that's that sorted. £180.
Something else I struggled with, funnily enough, is right here in this photo.
Some kind of thick bush that I'm deeply allergic to. I could sue VICE on this alone, but I won't. I'll do the reasonable thing and get it sheared – £450.
And how could I forget: a vital matter of animal welfare. Take a look at this:
Look how miserable that duck is. We need to do something about it. So ask yourself: is it too much to ask for a floating duck island? A simple £1,645 floating duck island? I truly don't believe it is, and nor did Tory MP Peter Viggers. How are we looking?
Finally, a fee that reflects the hard, hard work I've put into becoming a Tory. Now, to send it to accounts. But maybe… maybe I don't need to detail all this stuff? Call me entitled, but I'm a Tory now – I can make irresponsible decisions that impact other people while exonerating myself of all responsibility. Let me… let me just try something.
That looks much better. Everything I've been working towards. I have status now; I'm a Tory. People do things for me, for I am perched atop the social tree. Nobody is going to challenge this in the office. I'll just send it off to the lovely woman from the VICE accounts department.
In the end they wouldn't even cough up for my Caffé Nero. I guess I've still got a long way to go.